Project 1: Rogerian Argument: Finding Common Ground

Terms You Should Know

  • Compromise: an agreement reached between two incompatible sides of an argument.
  • Empathy: the ability to understand the stance of an organization or individual with whom you may not agree.
  • Common Ground: the interests or positions shared between two stakeholders.
  • Negotiation: the act of finding a compromise between stakeholders who hold differing positions on the same subject.
  • Rogerian Argument: an essay style that presents two seemingly incompatible perspectives on a topic and a possible compromise between the perspectives.
  • Controversial Issue: a pro/con issue of a prolonged state that represents differing values and interests, conflicting points of view, and/or disagreement about assertions and/or actions.


While traditional arguments tend to emphasize a writer’s position and persuade readers to agree with the writer’s claim and evidence to support this claim, the Rogerian Argument assumes that a writer can find common ground between two seemingly opposed stakeholders who are engaged in the same issue. With this common ground in mind, the writer lays out possible ways for stakeholders to reach alternative solutions to the problem through a compromise that considers the benefits to both stakeholders.

Arguments that surround controversial topics can often lead to tension, particularly when people have strong emotions tied to their positions. Such arguments may leave those who have a stake in one side of the argument or another to feel as if their perspective has been ignored or that there is no common ground among competing views. Rogerian Arguments place less emphasis on emotional components and present each side of an argument in a rational and neutral way. In a Rogerian Argument essay, readers are exposed to the value of each stakeholder’s position and the ways in which stakeholders may move toward workable solutions.

Project Assignment Components

Project 1 has five parts that progress the Rogerian Argument writing process:

  1. Focusing your research by responding to guiding questions as your early draft.
  2. Formalizing your research by writing your intermediate draft.
  3. Practicing peer review skills by responding to your peers’ intermediate draft.
  4. Mapping your revision plan to make your Rogerian Argument stronger.
  5. Finding common ground and moving stakeholders’ toward a workable solution.

Each project component will target specific learning outcomes, describe the assignment, and identify the assignment weight and assessment criteria. Each project component will be introduced and supported by in-class activities and homework assignments. Project 1 is worth 20% of your final grade.